TAKING ART TO THE COMMUNITY
Thousands come to Akron each year to enjoy the artistry of students and faculty of the College of Creative and Professional Arts as they put on hundreds of concerts, plays, exhibits and theatrical productions on campus. But sometimes the roles are reversed: the actors, musicians, dancers and artists take their talents to where the audiences are. And in a few cases, audience members become the artists.
Arts in Residence
Home entertainment can mean more than a big-screen TV. The Arts- In-Residence series literally takes music, dance and lectures into the homes of area residents. The 2010 series featured: jazz pianist Joe Augustine, a member of the prestigious Steinway Artists and an artistin- residence in the School of Music, who performed works from the Great American Songbook; dancer/choreographer Robin Pritchard’s exploration of the cross-cultural connections between modern choreography and dances of indigenous people; and art historian Kevin Concannon’s lively examination of the role of art in advertising.
Who knew there were so many tubists in Northeast Ohio! One of Akron’s most cherished holiday traditions brings thousands of people to the downtown event where the public attends for free, but anyone who owns a tuba can perform for the price of $5. Under the baton of Tucker Jolly, professor of music and founder of Akron’s TubaChristmas, hundreds of tubas bedecked in lights, tinsel and garland play holiday carols and lead sing-a-longs. But once a year proved insufficient and in 1999, TubaSummer was born. The annual events have moved on and off campus over the years, but aficionados of low brass instruments always seem to know where to show up.
In a complete reversal of the art museum concept, Arts LIFT brings functional, innovative work by young artists to the public, often in the most unexpected places. The award-winning summer arts apprenticeship program at UA’s Mary Schiller Myers School of Art gives art students from area high schools the opportunity to work with professional artists and UA art students to create permanent artworks that support conservation and ecological efforts. In 2010, students created unique benches with custom ceramic mosaics for use in the Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center. The previous year yielded 50 individually designed rain barrels for the Keep Akron Beautiful organization.
Lantern Festival in University Park
A new arts event emerged in the University Park area in 2009 with the first “Light Up” Lantern Festival on Oct. 24. The whimsical twilight-to-evening celebration attracted students, families and others to the neighborhood just south of campus. Participants enjoyed an eclectic mix of music, dance and theatrical performances, art displays, and a lantern-lit procession through the neighborhood at dusk. The University Park Business Association and Leandra Drumm Designs Inc. presented the festival, which was supported by a number of sponsors, including the University Park Alliance. Dr. Mark Soppeland, UA distinguished professor of art, and several UA art students participated. The Lantern Festival proved so successful a second was held Oct. 9, 2010.
Akron artists take their talents to the people, with TubaSummer (far left), Arts LIFT public art (center left) and the Lantern Festival (near left) in University Park.